The trend towards bespoke design of air movement equipment is being given greater validity with a major investment by air distribution specialist Gilberts of Blackpool.
The company, one of the leading manufacturers in air movement and natural ventilation technology, has unveiled a new air movement test centre that was officially opened by Federation of Environmental Trade Associations chief executive Russell Beattie.
Built at its new Stanley House manufacturing plant, the centre replaces an older decommissioned facility and is one of the best air distribution test laboratories in the country and the only one of its kind, in-house, among natural ventilation manufacturers.
The 400m3 centre enables thorough, accurate testing of air distribution grilles, diffusers and natural ventilation terminals to establish their aerodynamic performance, including throw, temperature, pressure and acoustic data.
Alongside the two-story test room, a research and development suite is equipped with data logging to precisely monitor and record tests, while the viewing gallery enables clients to see the test ‘live’.
“The new test centre enables us to rigorously check the validity of our component design,” explained senior technical manager Roy Jones. “For our standard products, it reinforces our existing product data - but it also allows us to easily develop special designs to meet project requirements. With more and more customers asking for bespoke designs, we can demonstrate that their scheme will deliver, safe in the knowledge it has been thoroughly performance-tested. Where necessary, the design can also be fine-tuned before final production, delivery and installation on site.
“With Gilberts committed to helping achieve the best design solutions for the industry, the centre will also be accessible for independent research into future air movement strategies.”
Mr Beattie added: “Gilberts of Blackpool has a reputation for its ability to deliver bespoke air movement solutions that enable the building services within our new commercial and public buildings to be as sustainable as possible. Its investment in the new test centre demonstrates its ongoing commitment to quality and to helping the industry develop.”
The main test room of the new centre is compliant with, or exceeds, ISO5219. It comprises a 12m x 6m x 2.8m (200m3) structure with two insulated walls, one simulated outside wall, and one wall that can be designated internal or external. A modular floor is mounted on jacks, allowing adjustment down to 100mm high.
Air handling is infinitely variable via a 2.0m3/sec fan with chiller/heater batteries capable of delivering extreme design conditions and heat lamps able to simulate sunlight over a glazed facade. Ducting has been designed to allow air to be delivered and/or exhausted through all types of air terminal devices in every different mounting position, whether floor, wall or ceiling.
A smoke generator can be controlled from the observation gallery, with facilities installed to provide video or still images of the smoke dispersion.
The new test centre compliments Gilberts of Blackpool’s 85,000 sq ft manufacturing facility. The company is unique in manufacturing every component in-house – even going as far as designing and engineering its own tools and dies in its tool-making facility.
Gilberts is one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of grilles and louvres, and a growing force in the design and supply of natural ventilation solutions for the commercial sector.